BREVIEW: The Clothes Show Live ’15 @ NEC 04-8.12.15

The Clothes Show Live '15 @ NEC 04-8.12.15 / By Ed Taylor - Birmingham ReviewFor the full Flickr of pics, click hereWords by Sasha Holt / Michelle Martin (Visual Voice Media) & Pics by Ed Taylor (Digital Flow)

Hello fashionistas, it’s finally happened, I’m back through the wardrobe from the fashion land full of surprises, better known as The Clothes Show Live 2015.The Clothes Show Live '15 @ NEC 04-8.12.15 / By Ed Taylor - Birmingham Review

Having visited this event a number of times before, whilst at The Clothes Show Live ’15 I was interested to see how much of the show was dedicated to sustainable fashion – whether vintage or pre owned charity pieces. In previous years the event had definitely paid homage to what I would call ‘fast fashion’, so this time around I wanted to talk to designers who try to create clothing with elements of sustainability.

Exhibitors such as All about Aud saw that core customers at The Clothes Show Live ’15 were the quality savvy fashion crowd. Audrey Taylor from All about Aud pointed out that “high street retailers are selling vintage style pieces at a fraction of the cost I could sustain”. She also highlighted the issue of fast fashion saying “throwaway fashion was a problem for the fashion industry as a whole and younger people needed re-educating as to quality of vintage garments.”

As I mentioned in a previous report, millions of tons of clothes are thrown away each year – but of the clothing that’s given away to charities, it would be interesting to discover how much that is thrown away is sold on through less than reputable sources.

One of the most interesting insights into the pre owned clothing world was from Jacqueline Seaby of Sue Ryder; this charity minimizes its rag waste (unsalable clothing) by diversifying its avenues of sale. Jacqueline told me that “in our Bristol store and a selection of others where we saw there is a market we have vintage sections managed The Clothes Show Live '15 @ NEC 04-8.12.15 / By Michelle Martin - Birmingham Reviewseparately from the main stock”. She also pointed out that from their distribution centre in Swindon “we can select key pieces to be sold at events and guide the merchandising of each store into what will sell. We hope to change the perception of Charity shop fashion”.

From what I saw at The Clothes Show Live this year, Sue Ryder had made great waves in doing that on their stand – with an eclectic fashion smorgasbord that wouldn’t have been out of place in a high end boutique.

Visitors to The Clothes Show Live ’15 were also supporting the vintage look. Josh Gilzeane caught my eye in a red leather 1980s jacket. He said “I adore it and it always gets comments because it looks so different.” It was also interesting to see independent designers, both burgeoning and high end using sustainable methods where possible as part of their fashion remit.

One such brand is JAM Industries. Set up three years ago, and born out of surf culture, JAM is founded and run by brothers Mark and Andy Jordan – offering “stylish good quality après surf wear” that can be “worn from Carlisle to Croydon and you don’t even need to own a wetsuit”.

At their Clothes Show Live ’15 stand, JAM Industries told me “our ethos has been simplicity and design but most of all affordable quality and comfort”. And if their products weren’t already appealing enough to me, JAM also embrace the responsibility “to be as carbon neutral as possible. And using British sourced skilled workers and materials is important”.

Even the high end designers, such as London Fashion Week darling Emilio De La Morena, have visions of creating exquisite pieces that make the wearer feel sexy and special with a nod towards sustainability and ethical fashion too.

Introduced to The Clothes Show Live ’15 audience at the Olympus Style Studio, by sustainable and eco fashion champion Hilary Alexander OBE, Emilio De La Morena talked about his “sculptural intricate pieces that envelope a woman’s every curve in lace, velvet and sequins” making his pieces “sumptuously sensual”. The Clothes Show Live '15 @ NEC 04-8.12.15 / By Michelle Martin - Birmingham ReviewEmilio further stated that where possible I source my materials from Europe, usually France and Spain, to cut down on our carbon footprint. I sometimes redevelop fabrics from previous seasons to design a completely new garment to reduce our dependence on new fabrics.”

Emilio De La Morena was also keen to highlight the kind of woman that wears his clothes, “she takes time out at the mountains or coast to enjoy the beauty around her and that inspires my collections with colours and marvels of nature.”

So from vintage retailers to designers and customers at The Clothes Show Live ’15, trying to be part of fashion in an ethical way (no matter how small) is agruably growing in momentum; maybe one day the tide will turn away from disposable fashion.

I look forward to seeing if The Clothes Show joins this clothing revolution and champions sustainable fashion at future events.

For more on The Clothes Show, visit

For more from the NEC Group, including links to listings at all venues, visit

For more from the Ticket Factory, visit

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BPREVIEW: 8 Bit Lounge Sixth Birthday @ Hare & Hounds 15.12.15


Words by Ed King

Thanks for helping us get to 6 years old. Here’s to endless insert coins in the future.’Birm_Prev-logo-MAIN - lr

On Tuesday 15th December, 8Bit Lounge celebrates its sixth birthday at the Hare & Hounds (Kings Heath).

Alongside the standard retro gaming and ‘experimental, action packed, geeky, lofi, bleepy, thumb ruining, 1up ing, barrel rolling, fun,’ there will be chiptunes from .mpegasus, B-TYPE + Auracle.

Doors open at 8pm with free entry all night. For more direct event info, click here.

Set up by Leon Trimble and Tony Grainger, two Birmingham based Audio/Visual artists/engineers, 8Bit Lounge has been the bastion of retro gaming in the second city for over half a decade. Nestling into the Hare & Hounds on a regular basis, the free to attend event has brought back most consoles and computers you can imagine over the past few years – with everything from Atari to Dreamcast showcasing games from Elite to Doom… and everything blink, blink, gulp in between.

8Bit-Lounge---logoTapping into the growing digital nostalgia, as CGI and gameplay become both more graphic and elaborate, 8Bit Lounge is an arguable respite from the more ferocious modern marketplace. A throwback to the halcyon days when the most contentious thing a gamer could get caught doing was trading interstellar furs or narcotics.

But no anniversary or walk down memory lane would be complete without some relevant tunage, coming to the 8Bit Lounge sixth birthday bash in the form of chiptune protagonists .mpegasus, B-TYPE + Auracle. And if you’re not familiar with the genre… ever wondered what the bastard child of Nick Warren and Manic Minor would be like?

Or have a look at .mpegasus in action, performing a live set at the SuperByte Festival 2015:

8 Bit Lounge celebrates its 6th birthday at the Hare & Hounds (Kings Heath) on Tues 15th December – entry is free, with the event starting from 8pm. For direct info, visit

For more on 8 Bit Lounge, visit

For more from the Hare & Hounds, including further event listings, visit

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BPREVIEW: MCM Comic Con @ NEC 21-2.11.15

MCM Comic Con @ NEC 21-2.11.15

Words by Olly MacNamee

*MCM Comic Con (Birmingham) is held at the NEC from 21st to 22nd November, with standard day tickets priced at £16 and standard weekend tickets at £16. For direct ticket info & sales, click here.Birmingham Preview

Coming this weekend, and closing down the comic-con season in Birmingham for the year, is the return of the memorabilia mammoth that is the MCM Comic Con*.

With it’s usually mix of celebrities, cosplay and comics – and a great opportunity to grab that favourite geek in your life a bostin’ Christmas present (you still say “bostin’” round here, right?) this can be a demanding weekend if you don’t know what you’re doing.

MCM Comic Con @ NEC 21-2.11.15So, here are my top five survival tips to consider if you’re a newbie to these kinds of shows.

Cosplay catastrophes cancelled: With cosplay being an integral part of the fun to be had at MCM, fear not if you’ve dressed to impress but find a ladder in your tights or a tear in your cape; there are people on hand with their magic box of needles and threads that will help restore you to Justice League standards. Just make sure you’ve used your Wolverine like tracking skills early in the day to seek ‘em out.

Plan ahead: With several cast members of the uber popular Game of Thrones holding court, as well as appearances from Liv Tyler (Sunday only), Maude Hirst (Vikings), Victoria Smurfit and Merrin Dungey (Once Upon A Time) and the Bionic Man himself, Lee Majors, you may want to check with the MCM online guide (available on the day as a floppy copy) to decide on a battle plan. Where are the celebs you want to see, what time are the photo opportunities, and where are the MCM Comic Con @ NEC 21-2.11.15 / Liv Tylerbogs. These are all logistic nightmares if you are keen to get as much out of the weekend as you can.

Bring money. Lots of money: While there is a goddamn awful lot to see, the temptation is to spend like a banker (recklessly) only to find you’ve bankrupted yourself ahead of Sunday. My advice: wait till about 4pm. No one wants to lug unsold products home, so this is the time to swoop in on the many bargains you can pick up, some less than half-price. Then, you can pretend you spent top dollar on your mates’ prezzies and they’ll be none the wiser.

Be ready to be amazed, but keep your hands to yourselves, fanboys: The cosplayers are a friendly lot and always ready to pose for piccies. But regardless of their costume, do not see them as something to manhandle and slobber over. Trust me, it happens.

MCM Comic Con @ NEC 21-2.11.15Go see the Ralph McQuarrie signed Star Wars prints: After 4pm on the Sunday, some lucky bugger will have bid on this one-off collection of Star Wars concept art – donated anonymously, with all money raised going to local charity, Acorns Children’s Hospice. Worth checking out if you’re a fan of Star Wars. If you know who Ralph McQuarrie, then you are a fan. If not, then these aren’t the art prints you are looking for. Move along, move along.

Above all, whether travelling with friends, family or solo, have a great time. It beats the Christmas Market, that’s for sure.

MCM Comic Con is held at the NEC from 21st to 22nd November. For more on MCM Comic Con (Birmingham), visit

For more from the NEC Group, visit

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PREVIEW: Peace @ The Rainbow Warehouse, Dec 22nd

Birmingham’s psychedelic indie rock starlets, Peace, are playing a Christmas homecoming on Dec 22nd at The Rainbow Warehouse. Clue’s in the title.

With their new single, ‘Wraith’, scheduled for a mid January release – the brothers Koisser & Co are sandwiching a big Birmingham bash, between gigs at The Glasslands Gallery in New York and KOKO in London.

Hotly tipped for 2013, Peace have already had a good year. Formed in late 2011, Peace’s ‘dark melodic indie techno’ has accumulated a caravan of fans (oh yeah, it’s hippy references), spawned a debut EP – ‘Delicious’ and even attract some national press plaudits; not an easy thing to do outside the M25.

Signed to Columbia Records pretty bloody quickly, it was Peace’s first single – ‘Follow Baby’, released on Deadly People Recordings that kick started their attention.

The Guardian called them ‘ambitious’, The Fly called them ‘fucking golden’, and the NME stuck them on a ‘Top Songs’ list and cited them as one of the bands behind ‘B-Town’ – like some Kings Reach Simon Cowell.

Peace have also been nominated for the BBC’s ‘Sound of 2013’ poll.

Birmingham Review last saw Peace support Editors on June 26th, at the HMV Institute.

Peace‘s last gig at The Rainbow Pub sold out, so this time Birmingham Promoters are putting them on The Rainbow Warehouse, with a few friends to keep them company.

For more on details and tickets on Peace @ The Rainbow Warehouse on Dec 22nd, visit

For more on Peace, visit